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    Anecdotal Observations On History & Politics

    Entries in Ibogaine (1)


    Edmund Muskie's Drug Addiction, According to Hunter Thompson

    Self-proclaimed "gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thomson defined his brand as, "a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism..." Maybe that's what he had in mind when he invented a story about presidential candidate Ed Muskie on the campaign trail in 1972. In the case of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Thompson's "loathing" was on full display when it came to Maine Senator Edmund Muksie, a lackluster candidate whom Thompson derided as "tired and confused" and at one point describing him as a "vicious 200-pound water rat".

    Under the headline "Big Ed Exposed as Ibogaine Addict," in the April chapter of the serialized work, Thompson claimed that Muskie was addicted to a hallucinogenic drug called ibogaine. The prank was intended in part to test the gullibility of his fellow members of the press, who apparently proved suseptible to running with the false story. In the work, HST colorfully described the effect of the drug on Muskie, "given the known effects of ibogaine... Muskie's brain was almost paralyzed by hallucinations... he looked out at the crowd and saw gila monsters instead of people". 

    Frank Mankiewicz, who was the campaign strategist for the Democratic Nominee George McGovern, later reported that Thompson's reportage was the "most accurate and least factual account of that campaign." See the below clip from Wayne Ewing's Breakfast With Hunter, in the Alex Gibney documentary Gonzo

    While the story was fiction, it hit the wires anyway. Thompson later claimed to be merely reporting a rumor, it just so happened that he created the rumor to begin with -- something that Faulkner might have been proud of.